Facts About Swimmer's Shoulder

Swimmer's shoulder (aka impingement syndrome) is a relatively common form of shoulder pain caused by connective tissue rubbing on a shoulder blade. 

What is it?

Common Symptoms

Shoulder impingement often causes pain when extending the arms, along with a feeling of weakness in the shoulder. Your shoulder joint may feel stiff and there may be some swelling or tenderness in the area when it’s touched.

Risk Factors


Participating in Athletics

Impingement syndrome is more common among athletes who use their shoulders for repetitive motions or weight-bearing activities



Adults over the age of 50 are more likely to develop impingement syndrome than younger people.


Overhead Activities

People who do a lot of overhead activities in their occupations, such as painting and lifting, are at a higher risk of developing symptoms.

Treatment Options

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment typically begins with conservative options like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, ice packs and physical therapy. If these approaches don’t provide relief within a few weeks or if damage to the rotator cuff or other structures is more severe, surgery may be recommended to expand the space around the joint, preventing compression and impingement of the rotator cuff.

The Right Treatment for Swimmer's Shoulder

Shoulder impingement may begin with relatively mild symptoms, but without treatment, far more extensive damage can occur, both in the shoulder and in the upper arm.  Don’t let shoulder pain interfere with your life. To learn more, contact OrthoIllinois and request an appointment with Dr. Van Thiel today.